Caddo Lake is a 25,400 northwest Louisiana lake, bayou and wetland all covering a massive flooded cypress forest. With football and hunting in full swing, fishing pressure is gone and the lake is producing some good catches of quality, healthy bass.
At at the end of September, an influx of anglers from around the country showed just how good the Caddo bite is getting. Lady Bass Anglers Association Classic winner Alisa Johnson of Chandler, Tex., and co-angler champ DeAnna Lovvorn, of Bradyville, Tenn., are two of them. Johnson won the tournament with 42.39 pounds in three days. Lovvorn caught her personal best largemouth, a 6.74 chunk, during the event. Lots of four to seven pound bass were landed in the three-day event. That bite should continue to get better all through October.
“I’m pretty much a shallow water angler and I love to use a wacky worm,” Johnson said. “With Caddo being already shallow and a little lower than normal, it was perfect for me. I caught fish on a Gary Yamamoto Senko rigged with a Wacky hook. I did a little something different that I think helped. There is hydrilla up all around the trees and I fished a hook with a weight already on it. I think that helped get the bait down there where they couldn’t resist it. Black and blue, green flake, watermelon — it didn’t seem to matter about the color as much as where you threw it.”
Small groups of trees
Johnson and Lovvorn both caught their fish in smaller clusters of trees either in a little deeper water or right next to deeper water. The big thick cypress stands are not producing good fishing.
“Finding those areas that had two or three trees out away from the others was one of the keys,” Lovvorn said. The best fish also seemed to be in trees located in 4-5 feet of instead of the more common 2-3 feet of water.
“It doesn’t sound like it makes a lot of difference, but right now it does,” she said. “It has been so hot that a little cooler weather pushed those fish up in closer to the trees.”
“I love fishing a shaky head, but they weren’t really on it,” Lovvorn said “I saw several folks catching them on Senko lures so I just took one out and rigged it on my shaky head. I’d never done that before, but on about my second cast I caught one. I fished it and a swim bait to catch all my fish.”
Lovvorn’s exact rig was a 3/6 shaky head jig with a 5-inch Yum Dinger in Junebug color. She said the reason it worked so well on Caddo was the bait just shoots straight down the tree and into the cypress roots, which triggers a reaction bite. With cooler weather this month, the fish will become a little more aggressive and other works like jigs and Texas rigged worms in black or dark colors will work. Other fish were caught on frogs and plastics worked over the grassbeds.
Since that event, another stronger front has pushed through and both feel sure more fish will come in and hold tight to that same type of structure that they fished.
Johnson has a word of caution for fishing Caddo right now. On the first day of practice, she was running up a channel but got a little bit away from the channel marker and felt her boat slide over a stump. She had just replaced the lower unit on her boat and began running close to the channel markers. Too close, in fact.
“I hit one of the markers with my boat and cracked the upper fiberglass. It shook me up pretty bad and I almost loaded up and went home. But my family convinced me to shake it off and go fishing, so I did,” she said. “And winning the tournament in my rookie year was fantastic.
Although Caddo doesn’t have an entry in the Top 10 record largemouth bass in Louisiana, the lake does have some lunkers in it. A 16.17 pound giant was caught not once, but twice almost a year apart on the lake, but it was caught on the Texas side. When it was first caught, it was tagged and then caught about a year later, weighing just a few ounces less.
Caddo is located on the Texas-Louisiana border in western Caddo Parish. There are public boat ramps at the Earl G Williamson Park in Oil City and at the foot of the bridge off Hwy. 1 at the “By the Lake” landing. There is also a commercial landing and store at the Drift Inn Landing.